Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I took a trip down to the San Diego area yesterday to attend a Palmoar Handweavers' Guild meeting. They had a guest speaker, Joanne Hall, who gave an interesting talk about the history of Swedish weaving. I found so many things interesting, like how important weaving was (and still is) and that every girl was expected to learn to weave. While a girl was young and had time on her hands she was to weave items she would later need in her home. Interested boys would decoratively carve shuttles to give to the young girls. There was a saying that went something like, "drop your shuttle, loose your boyfriend". Kind of funny but it shows how important weaving was. The picture above is of several old shuttles, some from the 1800's. One of them is decorated a bit.
When the industrial revolution came around people didn't need to weave the necessites. Americans began storing their looms in barns and such. But, in Sweden they went in a completely different direction and began to push the boundries of weaving. They added more harnesses to their looms and began to weave finer fabrics with very intricate designs.
Weaving is still very popular in Sweden, much more than it is here in the US and much of the world. There are places in Sweden where you can go and rent time on a loom. And, they continue to weave with fine yarns and finely detailed designs. Unlike here, where the majority of weavers weave with much thicker threads or yarns.
Joanne brought a lot of beautiful examples of weaving to show us, including this runner that she wove. The details and threads aren't as fine in this as many of the other examples but I thought it was extraordinary!
I also learned about temples and how important they are. I saw something like this a long time ago but, like she said, it's not popular in America. It turns out, according to Joanne, that it should always be used in the weaving process. It makes weaving easier, the selvedges neater, and keeps the weaving width uniform. I want to order one and give it a try.
Joanne's enthusasm and love of weaving is contagious and her talk was full of fascinating information and stories. She had so much more to share but we ran out of time. She's visiting the area to teach workshops this week and visit the TNNA show in San Diego this weekend. She resides in Montana where she teaches weaving classes, weaves tapestries, and imports Glimakra looms and accessories from Sweden.